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Roger Stone to appeal prison sentence, judge's denial of new trial

Roger Stone to appeal prison sentence, judge's denial of new trial
© Greg Nash

Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneTwo alleged Oath Keepers from Roger Stone security detail added to conspiracy indictment Authorities arrest Oath Keeper leader seen with Roger Stone Political land mines await Garland at DOJ MORE's lawyers told a court on Thursday that they intend to appeal the right-wing political operative's 40-month prison sentence and a judge's decision to deny him a new trial.

Stone was convicted in November following a jury trial on charges of lying to Congress and witness tampering in a case that stemmed from his efforts to serve as a back channel between President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE's 2016 campaign and WikiLeaks.

After the verdict was pronounced, his lawyers alleged that one of the jurors was biased against Stone because of political beliefs she had voiced on social media. They argued that her bias had prejudiced the jury and was grounds for granting Stone a new trial.

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Judge Amy Berman Jackson, an Obama appointee, denied Stone's motion earlier this month, saying that a juror's criticisms of the president are not evidence that she was biased against Trump's former adviser and confidant.

"The assumption underlying the motion – that one can infer from the juror’s opinions about the President that she could not fairly consider the evidence against the defendant – is not supported by any facts or data and it is contrary to controlling legal precedent," Jackson wrote. "The motion is a tower of indignation, but at the end of the day, there is little of substance holding it up."

Stone's notice of appeal came just hours after Trump weighed in on the case again, arguing that his ally did not receive a fair trial.

"Does anybody really believe that Roger Stone, a man whose house was raided early in the morning by 29 gun toting FBI Agents (with Fake News @CNN closely in toe), was treated fairly," Trump tweeted. "How about the jury forewoman with her unannounced hatred & bias. Same scammers as General Flynn!"

Trump has loomed over the case for months. In February, the Justice Department overruled its own prosecutors' recommendation that Stone be sentenced to up to nine years in prison, filing a sentencing memo suggesting that he serve "far less" time.
 
The intervention prompted the entire prosecution team to withdraw from the case in protest, with one of the attorneys resigning from the Justice Department entirely.
 
There's also been an open question as to whether Trump will pardon his longtime ally. He has repeatedly defended Stone and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, claiming that they have been persecuted by federal law enforcement.
 
Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia during the administration's transition period, is now proclaiming his innocence and fighting the Justice Department in court.